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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

The Year Of My Life: Travelling Aotearoa New Zealand. Today: Settling in among the Kiwis!

Rugby match. Car sales. Kayak trip. My new home around the idyllic small town of Motueka, at the gateway to New Zealand’s famous Abel Tasman National Park, is pretty paradisiac. I have made it to the city of Auckland and survived my first adventure of crossing the North Island to the south. Having finally “arrived” here on the South Island, however, the “inner excitement” is far from subsiding.

At this very moment, I am reading a book called The Adventure Traveler’s Handbook” written by Nellie Huang. In it, this young woman talks about brave and courageous moments on her travels, encouraging readers like me to follow suit: “Ultimately, adventure is a state of mind more than anything else. It is about believing in yourself and having the faith to achieve something you want.” How very true. It brings me back to what I felt during those first few weeks living in New Zealand. Thank you Nellie!

Glück, das: Ankommen an einem der schönsten Strände, die man in seinem  bisherigen Leben je gesehen hat, dort alleine und still die Welt in sich aufnehmen - was kann es Größeres geben in jenem Moment?

Pure happiness and a great spirit of adventure: Wharariki Beach is one of the most beautiful, most remote beaches I have ever been to during my time in New Zealand.

Abenteuer, das: Auch das zählte für mich zu den ersten großen Abenteuern im Land der Kiwis - hier wird die Sportkultur des berühmten Rugby mit einreitenden Pferden zelebriert. Cool!

Another adventure is having experienced first-hand how Kiwis like to celebrate “their” national sport Rugby – complete with medieval, cheer-leading horse parade. Wow!

Stolz, der: Geschafft! Um fast schon läppische $800 NZ Dollar (umgerechnet etwa € 400,-) bin ich neue Besitzerin dieses zum damaligen Zeitpunkt 21 Jahre alten Honda Civic. In all der Zeit in Neuseeland sollte mir dieses Auto nie mehr von der Seite weichen oder mich gar im Stich lassen. Ich LIEBE es & die Erinnerung an die unzähligen bestandenen Roadtrips together …!

How proud I was to have bought this beautiful old car, a Honda Civic being 21 years old at the time – so almost as old as me! – at only $ 800 NZ dollars, which roughly corresponds to € 400,-. I still have to smile at the memory of our countless road trips together, all over the country, never failing me in my travels …

 

And so the story of my lifetime adventure goes. I have to learn how to drive on the left hand side! And ah, have I actually ever been kayaking before … ?

“Push the boundaries you never thought you had …” – or what was this adventure thing again? Well. The power of positive thinking, I guess. And after all, you are never alone down under in New Zealand. The degree of helpfulness among the Kiwis is purely astounding, literally everyone goes to (sometimes great) lengths to help you out, i.e. Couchsurfing invitations, open doors & hearts, finding it “natural to help you out”, etc. No matter what it was, buying a carplanning my next trip or simply an invitation for dinner: I could always count on the support of people around me, even though some of them might hardly know me (yet). Beautiful – and refreshing as a human quality among the Kiwis in New Zealand.

Mein allererster Kayaktrip war einfach wundervoll. Nie werde ich die glasklaren, türkisblauen Buchten vor der Küste des Abel Tasman National Park vergessen … wow.

My very first kayak trip ever was simply glorious … I shall never forget the glittering, turquoise waters we kayaked through on our way along the coast of Abel Tasman National Park. Wow!

 

You see, it was the same with Denise & Crispin Raymond of Creative Tourism New Zealand. Being one of the sweetest and most charming couples I have ever met, they emigrated from Europe to New Zealand more than ten years ago and founded, thanks to their interest, know-how and contacts, “Creative Tourism New Zealand“. To invite me to come and stay with them, support them in their work and treat me as part of the family, is quite something in its own right. But to continue to push me and help me settle on an international career and travel path that I still pursue today, is really amazing. I still look back in awe, while I am sure Denise & Crispin would only smile, shrug sweetly and say, “Why, of course, this is just what you do.

Könnt Ihr Euch vorstellen, auf so einem Anwesen zu leben? Mitten in der Natur, einfach glücklich, rund 20 Minuten mit dem Auto in die nächste Kleinstadt? Als ich die Monate bei Denise & Crispin Raymond verbrachte, war ich jeden Moment beeindruckt von dem Traum, den sich die beiden verwirklicht hatten.

Could you imagine to live in a country house like this? About half an hour from the nearest little town on New Zealand’s South Island? Every moment I lived here with this amazing family, I marvelled at the dream they both realised for themselves.

Welcome to … The Office! Hier saßen Denise & ich viele Stunden an der kreativen Arbeit zur Weiterentwicklung von Creative Tourism New Zealand.

Welcome to … The Office! Here, Denise and I spent many hours developing and marketing Creative Tourism New Zealand.

Etwas weiter "unten" in Motueka lassen wir "die Kirche im Dorf": New World sieht alles ein bisschen, äh, anders aus.

A little further “down”, in the small town of Motueka, the “New World” appearance strikes me: Churches do look different around here, for instance.

Hm. … Manche der neuen Anblicke finde ich ehrlich gesagt gar nicht so schlecht … ;)

Mh, some of these new looks are quite handsome, after all … 😉

Und wieder lockt … einer der schönsten Sonnenuntergänge des Landes. Oder habe ich das schon mal gesagt?

And again … One of the most beautiful sunsets in Aotearoa New Zealand. Or wait – haven’t I mentioned this before, somewhere here in my series of travel articles about New Zealand? (I have a feeling I will again, too).

 

The Abel Tasman National Park as well as Golden Bay, both top destination targets in New Zealand, are right in front of my new doorstep. What more could I desire?

Nothing, really.

Crispin has baptised my car “NiftyEllie” owing to the NE 5920 license plate. I think this a very good name, cruising down the road like a pro on the left hand side after only a few days. (It does certainly help that there is not much traffic on the islands after all!). My new car is almost as old as me back then – a fact that utterly fascinates me, being the “spoilt Central European I am” ;), growing up to shiny new cars and having only seen very old ones on a trip to Cuba. However, all goes well: Back to third gear across the hill, I make my way to Abel Tasman National Park and into Takaka, the “secret hotspot” of Golden Bay. All the wonderful people I am to meet there much later in the year, is the focus of yet another story in this series. For now, let me recommend Golden Bay as my very own, personal highlight for your next adventure journey to New Zealand! Check this out.

Auf geht's zum Kayakausflug: Wir haben ein Package "morgens an der Küste kayaken, nachmittags über den Küstenwanderweg retour" gebucht. Eine super Kombination, die ich Euch für einen Tagesbesuch des Nationalpark wirklich empfehlen kann.

Off we go kayaking: We booked a package offering morning kayak and afternoon hike back to the entrance of the Abel Tasman National Park, a really good combination for a day’s worth of exploring the park by water and by land.

Von atemberaubenden Buchten ...

From views like in paradise … what else can I say …

… hin zu glasklarem Wasser für die Abkühlung ...

… to crystal clear waters for skinny dipping …

… bis zur Gelegenheit, im Hinterland auf abenteuerliche Reitgesellschaften zu treffen: Das Gebiet im & um den Abel Tasman National Park ist wahrlich eine Freude.

… and all the way to the possibility of chance-meeting horse trekkers going for a swim in one of the park’s inland lakes: Abel Tasman is your spot for amazing travel adventures.

 

Large fern trees basking us in an interplay of shade and light, with a place called Pupu Springs offering one of the country’s finest drinking water sources, and the mesmerising play of light on Papatuanuku’s skin, or “Mother Earth” as the Maori like to call their homeland. The story of creation around Papatuanuku (“Earth Mother”) & Rangi (“Sky Father”) is as moving as it is unique. I shall tell you more about it later on along the way. After all, this series of travel articles offers a lot more space for inspiring storytelling … ! Stay there and stay tuned, dear readers. 😀

Pupu Springs: Direkt aus der Erde sprudelt hier eines der reinsten Trinkwasservorkommen des Landes. Zu finden: Ganz in der Nähe der Stadt Takaka, auf dem Weg nach Golden Bay, Südinsel.

Pupu Springs: Right out of the Earth, one of the clearest source waters in the whole country appears here near the city of Takaka, Golden Bay.

Ich liebe die Lichtspiele auf der Landschaft Neuseelands ...

I love the magic of light and colours of the setting sun over Aotearoa New Zealand …

… und noch mehr die der typischen Farne: Groß und mächtig thronen die gewaltigen Baumfarne in Neuseelands Wäldern und an den Küstenabschnitten des Abel Tasman National Park.

… and even more the country’s typical fern tree vegetation: Large and powerful, they fill entire forests in the Abel Tasman National Park, to be seen during a beautiful coastal walk.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
The Year Of My Life: Travelling Aotearoa New Zealand. Today: Crossing the North Island
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